[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next]
[Date Index] [Thread Index] [New search]

RE: OS X (was Re: Windows ME)

[this is long and maybe off-topic, so if you're not interested in
Frame's UI feel free to hit Delete in some suitably ergonomic
fashion. slb]

Hi Jim -

thanks for your reply. I find this subject really interesting, for
lots of reasons (I'm very interested in UI design and usability;
I worked for a company whose applications ran on almost any client,
from Windows PCs to X terminals to dumb terminals; I'm a big fan of
Frame and want it to thrive).

> On the flip side, without a UI that makes it look like part of the
> Adobe "family", FrameMaker is arguably a harder sell.  The UI has
> mostly been just tweaked since 4.0, something like 6 years ago.

Do you think the sales problem is because the UI looks 'un-Adobe' or
because it looks old fashioned and non-standard? That's how it is
on Windows at least. Maybe that's more of the problem?

> As Lee observed, the adherence to keeping the UI the same between
> the platforms, while having value, serves to restrict things. Look
> at the Color Definitions dialog: Unix doesn't have a "color wheel"
> method for selecting colors, so Mac and Windows don't get to have
> one, either.

I can think of several UI differences where different features are
supported in Windows and Solaris: keyboard macros; screen capture;
the Print and Preferences dialogues, and probably more. (And I
believe Frame on a Mac has some unique features such as trapping.)

My point is that if the UI can accommodate some platform-specific
features and OS dependencies, it could handle others. Using your
example, have a colour wheel on Mac and Windows and use some other
colour selection widget on UNIX. Another example: in 5.x the Table
and Para Designers had tabs on Windows but not Solaris, but that
wasn't a problem.

Though even there, I'd be surprised if it's that hard to find most
common widgets on UNIX. UNIX's motto could be "where there's a will
there's a way" :^) There are colour wheels in GTK, Tcl/Tk and Swing,
for instance. Deneba Canvas is available on Mac, Windows and now
Linux. Presumably it has a colour wheel on all three.

I haven't looked into this for years but aren't the Frame dialogues
implemented as text description files in a proprietary format? I
guess Frame has a layout manager that converts them to widgets using
the standard libraries on each OS (e.g. Motif on UNIX). Aren't these
widget libraries extensible?

> I'm of the opinion that a lot of unification could occur without
> making a lot of fundamental changes in the behavior, thus giving a
> look that is a better match with the other Adobe products without
> losing the feel.

Yes, for sure. It would be difficult and expensive to go for a 100%
match. I think there is a sort of "threshhold of differentness"
below which most users just won't notice. The main things are:

- Frame on Mac must generally look like a Mac application
- Frame on Windows must generally look like a Windows application
- features that are supported cross-platform should where possible
  look similar and work in a similar way.

After these are taken care of, it's desirable though to me less
important that Frame should look like other Adobe applications.
Even there, I'd rate things like tear-off palettes a low priority.
I'd rather see things like index and TOC properties moved from the
reference pages, where they cause new users some anguish, to the
Set Up File dialogue.

> 6.0 came out in May or so.  Anything less than an 18 month
> schedule is probably too short, so we won't get it until 2002
> anyway.

Well that's my point. History suggests the next major release will
be in 2002 (and hallelujah, Lee is hiring engineers -- it looks like
there really will be a next major release :^). The question is, what
will be in it? If most of the development resources are taken up in
reimplementing the UI there will only be time left for superficial
enhancements. Who will pay for the upgrade? Even users of Photoshop
and Illustrator are unlikely to pay US$200-300 to get substantially
the same product in new clothes. And how many new sales will there
be for a product whose features will have largely stood still for
4-5 years?

Stuart Burnfield
Gentoo Communications

** To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@omsys.com **
** with "unsubscribe framers" (no quotes) in the body.   **